The setting is Metzingen, a neat little town with a historic centre and located not far from Stuttgart at the foot of the Swabian hills. A hundred metres from the town centre as the crow flies there's a mega brand hub, an outlet city which has sprung up at a tremendous pace for an urban development project, providing facilities for power shopping and bargain hunting in a city landscape which is characterised by architectural experiences. It's the background for new buildings which mushroom everywhere on this almost inexhaustible site, most of which is owned by the family which founded the clothing manufacturing firm of BOSS.
One of these outlets is a new store which has been created for three brands in the field of sports and outdoor activities: Oakley, O’Neill and Quiksilver. The monolithically shaped building suggests a cliff face covered in moss and is the result of a new, innovative process to create the surface of the facade. The architects Blocher Blocher Partners, who specialise in corporate architecture, have developed this by converting the texture of the moss to an abstract motif and then vectorising it. Using a cutting plotter this pattern was then cut out of a special facade foil made by the firm of Orafol, which created a kind of stencil.
A pattern suited foil protects parts of the surface of being sandblasted
After the fair-faced concrete had dried the foil was stuck on the shell of the building and then sandblasted. The result is that the sandblasted areas appear lighter and matter, while the covered areas give the fair-faced concrete a refined, lightly shiny texture. These effects change constantly, depending on the time of day, the way the sun shines on the surface and the weather conditions. With this building Blocher and Blocher have succeeded in creating a poetic reflection of the natural world which really suits the outdoor and sporting goods brands to which the structure is home.